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Sleep as a mediator of the relationship between social class and health in higher education students

McGuffog, Romany and Rubin, Mark and Boyes, Mark and Caltabiano, Marie L. and Collison, James and Lovell, Geoff P. and Muldoon, Orla and Paolini, Stefania (2023) 'Sleep as a mediator of the relationship between social class and health in higher education students.', British Journal of Psychology .


A substantial body of research indicates that higher education students from lower social class backgrounds tend to have poorer health than those from higher social class backgrounds. To investigate sleep as a potential mediator of this relationship, online survey responses of students from five large Australian universities, one Irish university and one large Australian technical college were analysed in three studies (Study 1 N = 628; Study 2 N = 376; Study 3 N = 446). The results revealed that sleep quality, sleep duration, sleep disturbances, pre-sleep worries and sleep schedule variability mediated the relationship between social class and physical and mental health. Sleep remained a significant mediator when controlling for related variables and other mediators. Thus, the findings suggest that sleep partly explains social class differences in health. We discuss the importance of addressing sleep issues among students from lower social class backgrounds.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:© 2023 The Authors. British Journal of Psychology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of The British Psychological Society. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Date accepted:22 February 2023
Date deposited:24 March 2023
Date of first online publication:09 March 2023
Date first made open access:24 March 2023

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